In March 2019 we spoke glowingly about promising Light Flyweight Rikito Shiba (4-1, 2), who's name was being transcribed as "Rikuto Shiba". At the time we were really excited about Shiba, who looked a real talent on his way to big things. At the time he was 2-0 (1), he had looked highly talented, exciting, with good ring IQ and a lot of ambition. Sadly however things haven't gone amazingly well for him since we covered him in our "Introducing" feature. So lets take another look at Shiba as we revist Rikito Shiba.
When we spoke about Shiba last he was closing in on his April 11th bout against Hizuki Saso, in what was an eliminator the Japanese Youth Light Flyweight title. The talented Shiba would shine, stopping Saso in 2 rounds to book himself a bout with Tsuyoshi Sato for the title. Sadly that bout fell through when Sato had to pull out, though Shiba would later get his shot at the title.
When Shiba got his bout for the Japanese Youth title he took on the touted Shisui Kawabata, instead of Sato. It was a very different type of bout to what a contest with Sato would have been, but Shiba did enough to take home the victory. The key different between the two men was a knockdown that that Shiba scored in the opening round. The bout went 8 rounds, allowing Shiba to test his stamina, but was a real test and one that saw him having to answer some real questions.
After winning the Japanese Youth title Shiba got a chance to take a huge stride towards a bout for the senior Japanese title, as he took part in a Japanese title eliminator. In the opposite corner was the big punching Masamichi Yabuki, who sadly proved to be too strong and too powerful for Shiba, battering the youngster into submission in round 4. Shiba had proven to be game, but was really unable to cope with the power and size of Yabuki, with Shiba being dropped several times.
Following the loss Shiba seemed to talk about walking away from the sport. It was as if the loss to Yabuki, a really good fighter, had extinguished his desire to box. Thankfully however Shiba has spoken about wanting to fight again and admitted that he was toon busy blaming things for his loss rather than taking responsibility. It now seems, from his recent social media posts, that he's hungry to be back in the ring and we're really looking forward to that.
Although Shiba was bullied and battered by Yabuki the youngster still has a really bright future ahead of him. It's clear he needs to do a lot of work if he's to reach the heights we expected of him, but at just 24 years old he's not a fully matured young fighter. Yes he was beaten by Yabuki, but he has time on his side and has got plenty of time to develop. He's got a lot to like and if he's really able to accept that he is to blame for his loss, and he's responsible for working on things, he can still go a very long way. Yabuki isn't a bum and a loss to Yabuki isn't a reason to right off Shiba, who should come back stronger when he returns to the ring, later this year.
The loss, so early on, for Shiba may be a blessing in disguise for the very talented young southpaw who we are really looking forward to see again. Hopefully with a level had and a renewed hunger to impress.
This is just an opinion, maaaan! It's easy to share our opinions, and that's what you'll find here, some random opinion pieces